Feb 28, 2011

Last few days of Christmas....Appledore

Do you ever feel like you have blogger overload..too many posts, too little time... I'm that girl at the moment..but I'm ploughing on with the last few days of our Christmas (!!) trip.. 2nd to last day and we've made it to Appledore, only one more day and we'll be back in Florida (figuratively.. I'm in Florida now.. my Mom is working in the garden  - working visit and I'm writing this blog... something wrong there!!)


The name Appledore is usually considered to be Celtic in origin. There was a Saxon settlement, and a Viking raid in 878AD. The settlement prospered as a port in the Elizabethan period, and some cottages date from this period. The construction of a quay in 1845 further developed the port, and as a result Appledore has a rich maritime heritage. Today it is a super cute small town with lots of gorgeous coloured small cottages and a thriving arts and crafts community... cue funny story...

Clare and Jody walk into super cute craft shop
Lots of great items, most of which we'd love to take home. At back of shop are some strange porcelain foxes.. we look at each other, raising our eyebrows.. a little creepy!....At front of shop we start talking to the shop keeper and transpires that she was one of the co-operative of local designer-makers exhibiting and selling their own original work, taking it in turns to 'man' the shop. On display is an ever-changing collection of the best contemporary craft, including ceramics, wood, glass, metal, leather, textiles, baskets, furniture, studio pottery, painting, jewellery, photography and printmaking. GUESS which designer she was.!...you can see her work here.. we paid for our clock that we'd found made from reclaimed slate and made a sharp exit, suppressing the giggles! Ho hum... but I do recommend you visit if you are ever in Appledore...that and for the most amazing chocolate shop

.. look at these....

Too much choice!

Outside the crafts shop... balcony of musical instruments

Even the Baptist church is rocking some colourful paint!

Lunch was at the Beaver Inn - whilst husband and niece wimped out I went for the famous fresh fish, best Plaice I've ever eaten... yes those are the eyes!

This is what it looks like when the sun is out... obviously not my picture as it was freezing and overcast!


Feb 24, 2011

Still Christmas in February....Clovelly

I know.. I'm still posting from my Christmas trip back to England... I'm sorry.. but we did so much (and took so many pictures) you are going to just have to suffer through a few more (of course then there will be Feb's trip to Cape San Blas) ho hum I can't keep up with my jet setting lifestyle.. did I say I was going to Australia next week?..

Anyway.. continuing.. we've seen Braunton Burrows and how my parents think life is one big race.. slow down and smell the coffee parents !!

So today it was on to Clovelly...

Clovelly on a sunny day...

So it was a bit misty that day and I had forgotten my camera.. so we are relying on Brittany's camera skills (!) and a few sunny pics I've pinched borrowed from the Internet!

The most important thing you should know about Clovelly is that there are Landrovers at the bottom to drive you back up to the top.. that's assuming you've not called Air Ambulance having broken multiple bones to get to the bottom!

A very steep cobbled street trickles down the wooded hill to a small harbour and a pebble beach. Both sides of the street are filled with little white-washed cottages, each, it seems, existing for a purpose: a shop, a tea room, a workshop, a crazy woman’s house, etc. Unusually, every property in the village has been privately owned by one family since the mid-18th century. This has ensured that the cottages are only rented out to people who will actually live in the village rather than being a collection of holiday cottages. Importantly, there are two hotels and two good pubs, serving delicious local ales and ciders (non of which I got to consume.. that's just the blurb!!!)  No cars are allowed into the village so goods are transported up and down the hill using donkeys and strange cart-sled -like contraptions. There is a very real feeling of history in Clovelly and I'd recommend a visit, but build your ankles up 1st.

As with most places we visit I like to hunt out the controversy... here its about the visitor fee
£5.95 for all-day car parking, entry to two museums in the village and a 15-minute film (not running when we were there - no discount!!) show telling the story of Clovelly, as well as use of the toilet facilities in the visitor centre and down the cobbled street.

Visitors are told that revenues raised from the entrance fee are used to fund the constant maintenance of the village cottages (caring for the village is a costly business because the buildings are all repaired using traditional materials and craftsmanship, and due to the severely restricted vehicle access, builders often quote up to double the standard price for repairs when Clovelly is mentioned). However the street is owned and maintained by Torridge District Council and as such you are paying to walk down a public street!!! Anyway I saw loads of places you could sneak in if you really want to.. so don't think you HAVE to pay!!!

Anyway enjoy the pics.. tomorrow a trip to Appledore and another footrace in Lynmouth!!!!

At the top before we knew we'd be taking our life in our hands!

Should of hopped on one of these and ridden down!

Can you see the terror on my face... I'm slipping down the hill!

Cat.. he had right idea

Crab pots.. very arty Britt!

Think this illustrates how steep it is.. we were half way down hill at this point!


If only we'd had a video to watch me come slip sliding down this bit

Not much of a Waterfall...imagine its a dribble in summer



Feb 19, 2011

Anniversary... 7 years in....


We are currently here....

Cape San Blas
Celebrating with dog in tow...

That's him running off up the beach .. little bugger!


Anyway, as much as I'd like to stay here talking to you I have celebrating to do.. so I'm re-posting our internet love story for you to be sick over... have a great weekend... we will!

Before I go on I'll give a certain reader in Oxford an opportunity to grab a sick back as she hates all things lovey dovey!
Meeting my husband is somewhat of a love story. We met online in 2002 on what we both thought were local dating sites. I’d been recommended a site by a friend who’d met her subsequent husband and I thought go on then, I’ll give it a whirl.

For those of you who’ve never tried internet dating it can be more of an eye opener. I met some interesting types .. The man who claims to be 6ft…and so you wear your heels when you meet in the pub for the 1st time and find yourself looking over his head….

Wishful thinkers….
The man who sends you a picture of himself when he used to be in the Air Force, all dashing in his uniform

Only to find that we are 10 years on and he now looks like this…

I even met some men who just weren’t themselves.. I mean they were not the men in the photo they’d sent at all..! I asked one if he’d used a fake photo (I was in a busy outdoor patio so could escape quickly over the low balcony if need be) and he admitted that he’d used his friend’s picture.. When I asked him why, he’d responded that he thought I wouldn’t meet him if he’d used his own picture… not a good way to start a blind date!

Anyway I met my husband by chance. He was trying to get out of his membership (incidentally this is notoriously difficult, you need to navigate about 40 screens to find a way to cancel a membership on these sites!) and came across my picture (and yes I’d used a relatively recent one at the time)… of me from a holiday that year..

My husband said he’d thought my picture was cute and he laughed at the ‘profile’ I’d created… something about wanting a tall, non-Manchester United fan, who couldn’t see the attraction of Crown Green Bowling (I had to explain that bit too him). It took 3 emails for him to tell me he was in Dallas so as much as I’d laughed at his words I thought it wasn’t likely that we’d ever meet. At this point I did not have a picture of him, but loved that he was a wordsmith, and of obvious intelligence.

A week after our 1st email contact he asked if he could call me… I was beside myself with excitement. He’d never called outside the country before and had to go and buy a calling card.. I was on the way to a concert with my Mother and two friends the 1st time he called.. Such a deep, sexy voice and a lovely southern American accent with a bit of a Dallas twang at the time! I loved it straight away. I told him I’d call back when I got home.

16 hrs later, and one of the only days I’ve ever had to take off from work,we finished our 1st conversation. I can say hand on heart that my connection to him was already sealed... it was like we’d known each other for years.

We started making plans to meet, I would have gone there but he insisted he’d come to England, having to sort a passport out in super quick time to make his flight which was booked for 3 weeks after our 1st telephone call. I nearly went broke that 1st month in telephone bills, I didn’t know about Skype / or MSN then and call quality was poor…

Four weeks after 1st talking I was standing at Gatwick airport waiting to collect him..I already knew that if we got on in the flesh that he would be the man I’d marry… a strange feeling, but I just knew.

He spent 9 days here.. of course we hit it off like a house on fire … the hardest part..saying goodbye and telling my parents that I was getting married when they came back from their Florida vacation … for him .. saying goodbye and telling his Mom that he was marrying a girl from 4000 miles away that she’d never met.

Oh did I forget to tell you that he proposed to me in the rose garden at Warwick castle?

the rose garden at Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle at dusk

We managed to leave his new camera when we left at dusk… he was so excited!

That was nearly 8 ½ years ago. We had a transatlantic romance for a year and a bit, going backwards and forwards ..lots of fun times and expense!

And the in February 2004 we were married in St Thomas in the Virgin Islands in front of 23 of our closest friends and family. It was a beautiful sunny day, with the British Virgin Islands in the background..prophetic really..

My friend Anne was there.. you can read her blog here… she claims even she had a good time!

Anne...amazingly not burnt

We are still really happy (he is, after all my soul mate) and here’s to another 7 years and the rest!

Feb 15, 2011

Footrace at Braunton Burrows

OK, let me premise this post by saying that I love my parents....they are fantastic people.. however they have one character flaw and it exists in both of them... they don't enjoy the scenery around them when they go walking. It's all about a footrace... when the dogs can't keep up you know that something is wrong.. it's always been the same, my Mom being the biggest culprit.. picture back to holidays in the Lake District where she'd be half up a hill and Dad and I would be wondering whether we were even going to attempt to get up it.. she has earned her title as 'Mountain Goat'..

Anyway, she's 64 this year and she still hasn't slowed down.. good job I was taking the pictures, else you'd have seen none of Braunton Burrows...!

So enjoy our walk.. parents out front, husband and niece in middle and me dragging at the back trying to capture the beauty of our surrounds...it was about 4 miles in all.. but up and down those dunes is a killer!

Incidently Braunton Burrows played a vital role during World War II. In 1943 Lieutenant Colonel Paul W. Thompson was tasked with training the Americans for their assault on the heavily-defended Normandy beaches and finding all south coast places already in use by the Brits, ended up at Braunton . The beaches here were ideal for amphibious exercises, despite the fierce Atlantic surf, and the nearby sands were soon found to be identical to Omaha in every respect – including sand quality, beach gradient and tidal range. Anyone who has seen Omaha beach will instantly recognise an uncanny resemblance to Woolacombe and Saunton. The area is to this day closed for 10 days per year for military training.

me.. at rear

It is a beautiful place .. if desolate

Me taking pics from the rear....there they go into the distance

Me lagging - thanks for this Brit!


Nice picture of random rocks

Finally we made the sea!

Dogs in water... where else

Sam wants a stick too

Ma & Pa

Wait for me

The view with a long lens


All alone on a rock

Brittanys favourite bush (!)

Follow the footprints up the dunes... Grrrr

Tess and bird or stick... not sure!

Tess the dog!

Sam the dog!

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